NUMBER 10 confirmed today that the UK will not be taking part in an EU scheme to bulk buy ventilators and other key medical equipment to help in the fight against coronavirus as we are no longer a member of the bloc.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson told reporters earlier that the UK would not access the initiative, stating: “We are not a member of the EU.”

The UK legally left the EU on January 31, however we are currently in a transition period until the end of the year.

SNP figures have spoken out against the decision, with MP Angus MacNeil asking if Scotland’s lack of say in the matter will “bind us mortally to Boris & Co”.

The party’s shadow foreign secretary Alyn Smith branded the move “appalling” and claimed shutting the UK out of such a scheme is “the worst they’ve done yet”.

However, Downing Street said there are currently 8000 ventilators in the NHS and 8000 more will be available in “the coming weeks”.

Responding to the plan to block the EU from the EU scheme, MacNeil asked if the Scottish Government could still enter the initiative and wrote: “Or does our lack of independence bind us mortally to Boris & Co?”

Meanwhile, former MEP Smith wrote: “This is appalling. Ideology aside, there are numerous EU programmes to co-ordinate procurement and buy at scale the UK could be part of. The Tories shutting us out from them is the worst they’ve done yet.”

Later, Smith posted a graphic from the EU Delegation UK Twitter account demonstrating the ways the UK could be part of the EU’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The EU work cited included production of medical supplies, fighting against fraudulent products, research on vaccines and more.

Currently it seems the Government is keen to finish the Brexit transition period at the end of 2020 as originally planned. However, there have been calls to delay this because of the current coronavirus pandemic.